tv Morning Meeting MSNBC August 11, 2009 9:00am-11:00am EDT
attack on joe's life. >> except for the fact that bill karins -- hey, here he is. >> oh, my god. >> the only guy that still carries around number 2 pencils around. >> human resources will be calling you. >> yes, they are. >> and we need to be more sympathetic to hillary, and we are not channeling our fathers. >> richard todd, we found out, his father -- his child has risen above. >> richard todd must be so disappointed in his son. >> and the weather is going to be hot as hell, right? >> of course. >> all right.
oh, lord. >> it's time now for the "morning meeting" with dylan ratigan. >> good morning to you, and i am dylan ratigan, and welcome to the "morning meeting." topping the agenda today, the protesters facing the president. and i don't know which camera i am on. and this will be the headline, middle of the day today. this morning we are talk to one of the protesters about their fears. >> you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? my husband is not the secretary of state, i am! >> hillary tells you who is the boss. we will tell you why she got heated. >> and new technology to sell cars on ebay. will it work? we are talking about that, and will it slam the dealers if it works. and you heard about the recession, but contessa, have you heard about the mansession.
the latest job numbers show that women have finally taken over the working worlds. i hope you are happy. >> i am skeptical. >> it's 9:00 a.m., and pull up a chair and join the "morning meeting." we begin this morning with the anticipation of what will happen in about four hours from now when the president himself will host his first town hall meeting, yes, on health care reform. his town hall in new hampshire will be the further time the president will come face-to-face with protestors that have been disrupting congressional town halls across the country for a few weeks. chuck todd is in ft. smith with the big setup. what are we looking at here, charles? >> reporter: well, i will play al roker here.
we are looking at pouring rain. and the rain my tame down the crowds. there is some activity, but not a lot because it has been very stormy and rainy, and lots of thunder and lightning. it's supposed to clear up, so maybe in an hour or two we will see. here has been some of the rage that we have seen over the past couple weeks. take a listen. >> you can't trust them! never have! >> listen, i am a registered democrat. >> how dare you claim that i am part of a conspiracy. >> this is not health reform! this is control! control over our lives! >> i am american. >> reporter: part of the problem that the president and the democrats have is they don't
have one plan to push, but several plans in the works. that's what is causing difficulties in pushing something. today the president will try to help insurance reform, and try to tell people what they are going to get, who already have insurance. yesterday, by the way, the president seemed to signal he will embrace the protestors in some ways in his attempt to stay above the frey. take a listen to what he said? >> we are having a vigorous debate in the united states and that's a healthy thing. i think once we get into the fall and people look at the actual legislation that is being proposed, that more sensible and reasonable arguments will emerge, and we will get this passed. >> reporter: dylan, this is the first of three town halls the president is holding this week. i think that there is a hope among the white house that the coverage of him doing these town halls will maybe slow down the media coverage of the
congressional town halls that we have all been taken by over the last week. >> yep, chuck, thank you so much. we will check with you in a little bit here. contessa, one thing that strikes me in the conversation that we have had up to this point, again, forget the behavior and if it's useful or not, there are honest fears about this change, and particularly fears what does it mean for me when i get toward the end of my life, when i feel i am in need of meaningful health care. could i have that made by the health insurance company saying you can or can't, or would i rather have that exact same decision being made by a government board at the same time, you cannot or can't. when we get delusional when we believe that decision is not already being made constantly in the health care system, in the army. we price life every day. life insurance companies do it. this is constantly happening.
we are doing math based on life. >> yeah, if you talk to people about their current health insurance, and how difficult it is to get the paperwork and coverage and argue about whether certain treatments are covered. it's already a mess. and so for people that say we don't need to reform health care, they are not thinking about the way it really is right now. >> or they are not thinking about the overall picture, and that's not to say -- and this is just my opinion, i guess. jonathan capehart and lynn sweet are with us. the democrats did not do us any favors by let -- but maybe obama is crazy like a fox. who knows what will happen at the end of the thing. and it's important to bring the views of the protesters into the conversation, because their points are valid in some cases, and in some cases not. and we are joined by jane akin.
he is in new hampshire. i have to say what a pleasure it is to have time for you. thank you for making it for us. in brief, what is it that you are protesting? in other words, what is it that you have seen so far out of washington that is most -- has upset you to the point that you decided to take this type of action? >> well, a lot of people in new hampshire are not happy with the idea that the government would like to get in this far with managing health care business and a lot of people are upset by the fact that congress doesn't seem to understand what is in the bill, and they don't read the bills. it just seems like sweeping legislation that this country really is not ready for. >> yeah, and i think a lot of people feel the way, honestly, that you feel and the way you articulate that. i am curious how you get over those that say, listen, if we
don't do something -- forget whether the public option is the right plan or not, but if we don't take some form of action relatively soon, drug reform, and we are currently subsidizing drugs for other countries who fix their pricing. are you comfortable that we need to do something even if you don't like what the current proposal is? >> i am not sure what we need to do, but i would rather see it done through a free market. and we also have a situation in new hampshire where our representatives will not meet with us. we have been doing protests around the state, wherever their officers are to show them that we like to speak with them. we have not been able to talk about it. >> do you -- have you had a dialogue with your representatives in the past? in other words, do you feel like they are putting you away because they don't want to deal with the health care debate or they have not been accessible to
you or your group ever? >> i think they don't want to talk about it because their minds are made up, and we are concerned they don't know what they are voting for, and they won't know the unintended consequences. i can assure you, we are not trying to disrupt anything, we are constituents and we go there with the best of intentions and we want to be heard. that's why many of us are coming out today. we are not expecting to go inside, and -- i expect it will be fairly tame inside. people are not going inside to cause trouble. there are no signs allowed inside in any case. but people felt they wanted to come out and express the fact that this really isn't a one-on-one town hall that you can really get any satisfaction from. >> in brief, your primary objections are what? >> i just -- it just worries me
about how much of a managed society we are becoming. this is a big part of it. oops. >> what was that? is there a puddle? >> well, we had force winds a moment ago, and there was water on your tent. >> be careful. >> i feel the government is taking over so many parts of a private society that i don't want to turn into canada or britain. >> understood. one thing that strikes me when i look at health insurance, and the structure, right now the health insurance lobby has it set up so they have basically anti-competitive structure that they pay for in the government so they make more money, and our health care is less available to more people. i come back to the argue, let's create free market principles, and put insurance up on amazon,
and make it where everybody in congress right now gets to choose from 23 plans. why don't -- forget the public option and your concerns about the managed society that you just referenced, but what about another form of health care reform, free market or something else, would you be more open to that? >> well, frankly i heard a lot of insurance companies were behind this. you know, i am not sure how that would work. i still think competition is the answer. i am worried that if we have government enter into it, we might not have choice about that. we are worried about the rationing, of course. >> two things that i understand, we have rationing now just done by the health care companies and not the government. that's a denial of claims. and the government's job is to inform rules for competition. in other words, if the government doesn't set a fair playing field for competition, but set regulation for everybody
else -- i am making the point when a health insurance company says leave us alone and give us a free market, what they are saying is leave us alone and let us continue to send money to washington so we don't have to compete. equally offensive, no? >> well, i work with local government a lot, and i see when government is involved that does not preclude special interests and it does not preclude waste, and it does not prevent people from making, you know, profits where they shouldn't. a lot of times, you know, it's the same thing, and only government is involved. those details right now are far away from what people are protesting. right now people don't like the idea that this seems to be shoved down our throats without much dialogue. >> understood. i appreciate the fact that you took time to stand out in the rain and talk to us in public. jane, thank you so much. give the president good
questions today for us, would you? >> well, i am not actually going inside. >> well, then tell chuck todd -- give chuck todd one of your questions, and he will ask on your behalf, i am sure. thank you very much. one of the leaders of the kennedy clan has passed away here, and contessa brewer joins us in this saga. >> yeah, the sister of john f. kennedy and founder of the special olympics died. shriver was surrounded by her family. all 19 of her grandchildren and her husband and daughter. here is part of the statement released by her family.
>> this makes me think about mike barnicle, a lot of these types of values, anyway, or things mike aspired to. mike joins us on the phone. a boston native. your thoughts this morning, mike? >> well, she had a remarkable life. she led an exemplary life. one of the things that she focused on, the special olymp s olympics, and the treatment of special people, and she was perhaps single handedly responsible for largely removing the world "retarded" from the
american language. it used to be if there was a child with special needs, he is retarded or she is retarded. that's no longer the case. it's a special needs child or adult. she opened up a whole new landscape for people who had prior to her efforts been shunted aside. many of them were sentenced to live life in the shadows. i am talking to you now from my home, which is about four miles up the road in massachusetts from a building where you pass it and it says the eunice kennedy shriver center. and it's on the grounds of an old crumbling state hospital for the mentally ill. and that was the first building set up by eunice kennedy shriver to begin to address the needs of special needs people. >> where does the kennedy family go from here? >> well, you know, that's an
interesting question, diylan. well, senator kennedy is ill, and several times over the past three weeks prior to eunice shriver going to the hospital, senator kennedy would travel 500 yards up the hill in a golf cart to the shriver house where he would have a drink with his ailing sister. you had the ailing senator, and his ailing sister, having a drink at sunset on a beautiful home overlooking nantucket sound. you could just sense the end of a whole era on that patio as they looked over the ocean, with senator kennedy battling brain cancer, and now eunice shriver
now dead at 88. divers are looking for the ninth and final victim killed in this midair crash. people witnessed horrifying events. coming up, we will have new details about a possible manslaughter investigation conducted by italian authorities. mark sanford is meeting with his cabinet after somebody said he violated state involve laws. sanford flew first class, costing taxpayers extra dollars, and then he may have used state planes for private use, dylan. >> we had this conversation
yesterday, and i will not do it again today. we have health care to talk about and all these other things going on. much more ahead here on the "morning meeting," including hillary's heated question. and if you can't beat them, join them. gm, headed to the internet to try and sell more cars. we are talking to the head of ebay's car sales division about their new venture. that's straight ahead. ♪ bicycle, what are we waiting for? the flowers are blooming. the air is sweet. and zyrtec® starts... relieving my allergies... 2 hours faster than claritin®. my worst symptoms feel better, indoors and outdoors. with zyrtec®, the fastest...
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clinton, the top diplomat losing her cool of a question asked by a student in africa. take a listen. >> what does mr. clinton think through the mouth of mrs. clinton. >> wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? my husband is not the secretary of state, i am! >> she is a little upset with the kid there, and here is the back story. the translator made a mistake asking what her husband thought, and the student was asking what president obama thought about the growing influence of china in africa. anyway, a miss communication. the public display of frustration evidence to political watchers who are wondering just how frustrated and up staged she is feeling. and apparently north korea only agreed to free the journalists if bill made a personal
appearance, and you probably know this. and around that time they referred to hillary as a funny lady who looks like sometimes a primary school girl and sometimes a person going shopping. and this is commentary being made by a perceived to be crazy de dictatorship. jonathan capehart, and lynn sweet. both of you know more about this than i do. is there a thing here, or is this a pretend thing? >> it's a pretend thing. i am glad you played the trip of the translator mentioning what does mr. clinton think about this. you look at hillary clinton, and there is she is in a country or continent where men reign supreme, and she is sitting
there and having a question asked what does your husband think. i think her show of anger was sending a message to the men and women of africa that she is not going to put up with con dissension. and i think that she was right when she was told about the mistake in the translation to go over to the questioner and shake his hand and bring levity to the situation. the whole controversy about her being overshadowed by bill and stuff like that, i think it's more fun-house mirror talk and look at the clintons' relationship. >> yeah, lynn, what do you think? and then we will wrap this up. >> yeah, and she was able to gracefully answer the question whether or not her daughter chelsea could be exchanged for cows and goats. she has a history of speaking
out and working for women's rights, and maybe that was at work here, other than that this is something really about nothing. she apologized it was lost in translation. you said it was a measure of power games in the interior of the white house. >> understand, and let us move along now. contessa is here, and she is just getting rolling. ever buy cars on the internet? >> never. >> that's all i do. buy cars on the internet. anyway, i will not tolerate that. >> are you asking me about match boxes? >> straight ahead, is this becoming a thing. kathy griffin and levi johnston teaming up again. she gets this event on the palin family -- >> look at the flirting.
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it's yours free, so call now. and learn how aarp medicare supplement insurance... can help make your sixties a time of freedom. again. all right. welcome back, contessa. what is going on. >> kathy griffin, fresh off the teen awards that she was at, and she was guest hosting "larry king," and she has levi johnston. you see the body language and leaning close. there is chemistry, maybe, and whether it's real or made up, we don't know. she asked him about life with the palins. >> my plan is sarah could make all the trouble go away if she moves you in the big house and everybody gets along and you get to raise the kid.
why is that a problem? >> i don't know. she screwed all that up. i am not looking forward to being around that family any more. >> she called him a tiger and talked about making sweet love to him, and talked about moving to wasilla, and his chew habit, and that's tobacco and not gum. >> yeah, that's tobacco. >> i wouldn't know. the chevy volt -- >> i am thinking about that, and that "larry king" thing is kathy griffin trying to have something with levi johnston. i am distracted. shchevy says the volt will t 230 miles per hour. it will be available in 2010,
but will cost $40,000. >> no problem. >> what do you mean no problem? >> it's no problem. we will send the bill to the fed. it's no problem. >> it feels like the prius seats, it won't feel like a $40,000 -- >> yeah, some people will say it's awesome. >> are they trying to sell it? >> yeah, they might want to sell you a car. coming up, general motors to the internet they go to not only sell that volt but every other car on the lot including the chevy kau marrow. is the resurrection of gm to be found on the internet? we are back after this. pollen.
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it's largely change and fear of big government, and anything more concrete than that, at least at this point, is hard to come by. better information usually helps get around that. or get through that, i should say. and then despite having his hands full with health care, the president wants to tackle immigration. will the president's agenda end up, in fact, hurting democrats. too many hot button issues too close together. no good for the party. we have a new name for the recession, meanwhile, and contessa came up with it. we are calling it the mansession. more men out of work than women. first time in the history of america where there are, in fact, more women than men in the workforce. what does that mean for the future of the workforce? that means i will be on the couch, and you, my friend, will be hard at work. >> how is that different than
what we do every day? >> and it's time for the opening bell on wall street. and the federal reserve meeting to talk about interest rates today. futures pointing up. there was a selloff yesterday. we won't get too far into that, and if you are interested i suggest you turn on cnbc. and gm is test driving a new program that allows customers to buy cars and trucks on ebay. i like it. contessa, what is going on? >> haggling face-to-face may be a thing of the history books. it allows customers to browse new 2008 and 2009 models, and ask dealers questions and talk about financing. so far only california dealers are in on this test program. if it works out, the companies may expand it nationwide.
it's part of gm's attempt of a turn around. the giant emerged from bankruptcy restructuring last month. >> it seems like an obvious one, but it took a while. we are here. robert chesney, vp of general motors joins us. and jonathan, lynn, contessa, and everybody is here. mr. chess knee, i will begin with you. why did it take a gm bankruptcy to get to this point? >> well, i think, you know, the business of selling cars online is not a new one, but the -- our industry is focused more on the used car market where there was great inefficiency as well. and given the struggles the manufactures have had over the last year and a half or so there is a need for them to acknowledge that the internet is an important channel to access
customers through. >> robin, jump in here. give us a sense of how much more efficient it is in terms of cost to the seller and advantage to the buyer, and why it's a better market for cars than a lot, in your opinion? >> well, i think, you know, the internet played an increasingly important role when you look at the car buying process for new cars. 97% of consumers are using the web during that purchase process. and they are able to digest lots of content and important information from the comfort of their own home. it's the second biggest purchase that a household will make. >> yeah, i understand how to use it. jonathan, do you think it will work? in other words, will washington get behind this? they obviously have a huge influence on gm? >> sure. i think washington is interested in gm doing something, anything
that will get it off cinder blocks and rolling again. i have a question for rob, in the setup, that consumers on the internet would be able to ask questions of dealers. are those dealers at gm, or are those dealers at ebay? who is answering my question when i go on the site to figure out which car to buy? >> each individual dealers listing the car. every interaction between a customer and a dealer will be with the dealer holding the inventory. >> i am sorry, this is robin from business week. i would say more ebay users would bid on levi johnson than on a car. >> why? >> well, it doesn't excite the ebay spirit. if you put something rare, the chevy volt, put out 30 of them,
and have the people out there to get 100 out there. don't make it another channel for a business really that has zero consumer -- >> you are saying using ebay as factory clearance is one thing, and using it as a lead fifth avenue sell is another thing. and you are saying they should use the fifth avenue sell for the volt? >> yeah, something that charges up the animal spirit. go see the movie "who killed the electric car." gm snuffed out something that got hundreds of devoted car fans jazzed up. bring that car back, 15 of them, and put them on ebay. as a taxpayer, i own 1/one billionth of the company now. >> is this being used for
inventory clearance, or what roben wants? >> the great thing about ebay, it can stand for both things. we are great at helping move the -- >> well, i am not worried about ebay. ebay is fantastic, and i will compliment you on the product because i think it's lovely and praise to you, but my question is, your sense that gm wants to use the lovely product that you have to actually sell cars that get people excited, or are they using ebay to clear the inventory? >> i think they can use it both. in this case, the program we announced, they will move the 2008-2009 inventory on the lot. and there is unique monthly visitors that come to -- >> well, you guys are trying to compete increasingly with amazon
and some other self players. do you think the user base is all jazzed up about bidding on legacy general motor vehicles? >> if you look at the top ten cars that sell on our site every day, it's a mix of both. corvettes, and f-150s. and there are active users every day. and they are buying every day items. it's about deals and value. that's what they are trying to get on ebay. >> well, can you give it to a 99 cent store, or costco. let's go live right now to pennsylvan pennsylvania. a woman just said to arlen specter, that she doesn't appreciate getting un-american
and let's listen. >> it eliminates the creation of new policies. first of all, this will take away my freedom and hurt capitalism through the creation of a monopoly. what are you specifically going to do to insure the private option is there and viable. talk is cheap. >> the plan will allow people who have insurance coverage at the present time through their employers or individual policy to maintain their policy. if you like their policy, you can keep it. >> if that policy changes, it prohibits the creation of a new policy. >> the question is, if the policy -- >> read it! >> if the policy changes it creates a new program. well, first of all, as i said before, no bill in the senate.
there is no bill in the senate. >> what is your specific plan to insure that we do have a viable public option, and you can only vote if this verbiage is in the bill? >> how can i be sure we will have a private option or public option. >> so when the town hall first began, there was a lot of anger, and a lot of vocal people in the town hall. let me play it. >> have a modification -- if you want to stay in the hall, if you want to stay in the hall, we are not going to tolerate any demonstrations or any booing. it's up to you. who has number one? go ahead. >> that's the way he decided to handle the people who were showing up and wanting to be vocal in many cases.
arlen specter in the town hall trying to explain the options at the disposal of the lawmakers that have to craft one concise piece of legislation, so they can explain it. and we just heard him explaining, no bill in the senate. let's go back and listen. >> you are not -- >> you want to be led out of here? you are welcome to go. wait a minute. now, wait a minute! wait a minute! wait a minute! >> i am leaving. i have ever right to laefr. >> wait a minute. he has a right to leave. he is right. >> he is violating my constitutional rights. wait a minute! wait a minute! you want to leave, leave. >> i will speak my mind before i
leave because your people told me i could. i called your office and i was told i could have a mik to speak, and then i was lied to because i came prepared to speak, and instead you wouldn't let anybody speak. you handed out, what, 30 cards? well, i got news for you. you and your kroenies in the government do this kind of stuff all the time. [ applause ] i don't care how crooked you are. i am not a lobbyist with all kinds of money to stuff in your pocket so you can cheat the citizens of this country. so i will leave, and you can do whatever the hell you are pleased to do. one day god will stand before you, and he is going to judge you and the rest of your
kroenies on the hill. i am leaving. >> okay. okay. we have just -- we just had a demonstration of democracy. okay. when the gentleman says he is dissatisfied with the procedure, we have to figure out some way to have an ordinarily procedure. an hour and a half is a fair amount of time, and we had a lot of notice that there would be a lot of people here. we had his comments, and i made
a decision that although he did not have a card to let him speak his peace, and if he wanted to leave, he has a right to leave. but when he says that i am trampling on constitutional rights, i have to disagree with him. i am encouraging constitutional rights. i have encouraged constitutional rights by coming here to talk to my constituents. i could be somewhere else. i don't get any extra pay. i don't have a requirement to be here. but for -- >> you need to report to us. >> i am reporting to you. number 4. lady, you have the floor. >> i do not want to pay on a health care plan that includes the right for a woman to kill
her unborn baby. is it true that this plan is in the health care ballot? >> the question is will there be payments for abortions in the health care bill? well, first of all, we don't have a bill in the senate, as i said. what we are looking toward is to have both options that if you want to have a health care plan which does not have payment for abortions, you can have that one where you will not be charged for somebody who has an abortion. now, if you want a different health care plan, an option, where you can have payment for abortion, and you pay for it because you have a bigger premium, you have the choice in being in one plan or the other. so nobody has to be in a plan to
pay for somebody else's abortion. who has number 5? yes, sir. >> president obama stated more than once his goal was to have a single payer system. are you for a single payer system and will you vote for a bill that would make a single payer system either through the bill or in the future? >> i am prepared to keep single payer on the table as a matter of consideration and flexibility. i believe that when we are in the formative stage of figuring out what to do, that we ought to consider every option, and we ought to hear the people out. i know the public opinion polls are high in favor of single payer. i know that. okay. okay. well, i guess you can get a poll
about anyway you want it. my idea is to keep the public option on the table, to keep single payer on the table, and to get a sense in america as we are going to be debating this all month, in meetings like these, and figure out what the american people would like to have. >> excuse me, lynn, are you there? >> i am here, yes. >> your thoughts? >> well, democracy is pretty messy, and there is a difference between going to a town hall meeting and making a speech and asking a question, and the man probably was very frustrated, and nobody likes to be manhandled. and that's what was explosive. and this is a process that i think the obama administration lost control of because they did not anticipate that a measure as complicated as this would have thousands of people asking
thousands of questions, and for an and community organizing and they let it get away from them. some of the questions that senator specter got were just terrific questions and when you calm everybody down and people have real questions, it's a little disenjin bus to say there is no bill. when the woman asked questions about abortion you learned something from there there is two ways of approaching it. >> a question about coverage here for people in america illegally. >> they are unable. president bush used to say help those who can't help themselves. let's focus on those minor problems. let's focus on tort reform, let's focus on helping people carry their coverage over to a new job. but leave us alone.
that's all we would ask. would you leave us alone? i would like to ask you today if you would commit to working on those problems, rather than throwing everything into turmoil? that would be my request. >> again the question is -- >> what i -- >> tort reform. here is the answer. >> those problems and not throwing everything into turmoil. that's a pretty generalized statement that i can agree with. >> stay in touch. >> stay in touch. i'll be back next year. if i'm reelected, i'll be back the year after that. who has number 7? >> thank you for coming, arlen specter. >> let me answer more fully. i don't want to see turmoil. you don't want to see turmoil.
we want to have a sensible answer. we have a series of problems and we want to take them up one-by-one and we want to figure out what the problem is and what is the way that we should deal with them in a democracy. >> how about 3,400? are you familiar with that? >> not familiar with 3,400. let me move on to number 7. >> thank you. i am a republican, but i am for -- i'm a conservative. i don't believe this is just about health care. it's not about t.a.r.p. it's not about left and right. this is about the systemic dismantling of this country. i'm only 35 years old and i've never been interested in politics. you have awakened a sleeping giant. we are tired of this. this is why everybody in this room is so ticked off! i don't want this country turning into russia, turning into a socialized country! my question for you is what are
you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created, according to the constitution? [ inaudible ] >> well, there -- there -- there -- there are -- there are a few people who didn't stand up and applaud, but not too many. i get a fairly -- i get a fairly firm message from the support you have, young lady. you ask me to defend the
constitution, that's what i've been doing. we've had -- we've had warrantless wiretaps that i have objected to. we've had signing statements that undercut what the legislature has passed. we've had supreme court nominees whom i have insisted follow the constitution and not make law. but in our -- in our -- in our social -- in our social compact, we have a provision to see to it that we take care of people who need some help. >> but the good hearts of the people will do that. not the government. >> and we have -- we have many people who are in need of assistance on health care. i have a number of people with me today who have very tragic
stories to tell about their own situation, but we want to maintain constitutional law and i'm committed to do that. next number? number 8. >> eight? nine. >> i'm number nine. here you go. >> you want me to hold it? >> i got it. >> thank you for coming, senator, we appreciate you coming to show privilege for the people who have sent you to washington, the republicans. i'd like to ask you a question. could i say a -- could i see a show of hands in the room, please, that sharing our views with our elected officials is un-american? i just want to see a show of hands of the people in this room -- >> do you have a question for the senator? >> yes, do. >> go ahead. >> give him the mike! >> show of hands people who believe -- >> thank you, senator. could i see a show of the hands of the people in this room who
believe we have a right to share our views with our elected officials? okay. take that to nancy pelosi. >> amen. >> i would like to state that i am not -- i'm in opposition of this health care. the government hasn't done anything right. one of our pennsylvanians last week asked you the question with the results from social security bankrupt. medicare, bankrupt. medicaid, bankrupt. you're taking our kids' future and -- post office. and take your our kids' future and driving it right in the toilet. we cannot afford this. period. keep the government out of it. we're doing just fine. thank you, sir. >> well, i have made a commitment here today, earlier, that i will not vote for a plan that adds to the deficit. next question. number ten?
>> i want to tell you, senator, that i have spent two weeks on my own trying to read that bill and trying to understand it. it's like a russian novel. yet in the bill silvets, it says many times the requirement for plain language -- and i can cite you the pages and the line numbers because i've had it up on the computer. it's a very difficult to understand. very difficult. this is the most important bill in my lifetime and my granddaughter will pay for this bill in its present form, whatever form that is, in terms of hr3200. i have three very important concerns that i think are shared. one is obama talks about 600 billion. the congressional budget office talks about 1.1 trillion. i have spent 40 years in
government and i've never seen a program come in at the right price and stay at that price! secondly, although that bill says nothing about abortion or reproductive rights, i have read that very carefully. there are nine amendments in the senate and the house which have attempted to prevent taxpayer funding in that bill, rejected. senator coburn, senator hatch, sno mikulsky and representatives fitch and gingrich. they've all been rejected. you know what the bill does say and i will cite the page and the number. there will be no health care until you are born! while that baby is in the mother, we don't count that as a person. i can cite the page and the number. medicaid and chip will only cover, quote, at the time of birth. closed quote.
>> go ahead, sir. you got the microphone. >> by the way, these are not talking points. these are my own, all right? i have just one other thing. i have spent 35 years in information technology. i read this bill very closely. you are about to concentrate more information about more pennsylvanians and americans in this bill in one place, in the computers of washington that has ever occurred! in fact, the cbo, the budget congressional office says it gives you the right to enter using our internal revenue service and page 58 talks about entering our own accounts, our own -- because financial responsibility has to be ascertained. my final comment is this. massachusetts has tried something like this.
tennessee has tried something like this. why don't we take a look at what has worked and what has failed there and maybe started in a blue state, give it all we've got in one state, but don't concentrate all this power in the bureaucrats and their computers in washington. you'll be gone. by god, the bureaucrats will still be there! we don't know their names, we don't know their faces, but they'll be making our decisions for us and for my children. >> let me -- when you -- when you raise the question as to cost -- >> you are watching the "morning meeting" on msnbc. we are privileged to join a live town hall meeting going on in
new hampshire with arlen specter. the president of the united states will conduct his own town hall. i should say pennsylvania. the president will conduct his own town hall meeting in hamps new hampshire later on today. very good questions coming from a very emotional audience there and arlen specter doing his best to address those questions ranging from will this pay for abortion to why are you basically consolidating power? is there a consolidation of power? illegal immigrants, et cetera. we are joined as we continue to monitor this town hall linda douglas, spokesperson for the white house office of health care policy. welcome to the conversation. i'm going to try to keep the cameras on up on this town hall. as it continues, we will rejoin it. so forgive me if i interrupt you guys as we go through this conversation. linda, i would like to begin with you.
why has the white house chosen to stand back, effectively, and allow a public option piece of legislation to come out of the house, sort of half-baked piece from wyden/bennett that is not a formal piece of legislation in the debatable sense yet? and the president is basically sitting and watching it at this point? what is the strategy? >> well, i think what you're asking is why is congress writing a legislation -- >> no, no. why is the president not making it clear what parts of the legislation, very clearly, he is in support of and not in support of? in other words, why he is not creating the clarity of his intentions so that perhaps the dialogue can be a little bit better form? >> i think the president has been extremely clear. >> so my fault, linda. is the president clearly in favor of a single-payer public option? >> the president is not in favor
of a single-payer system. he has made it very clear that what he wants to do is build health insurance reform upon our existing private insurance system. >> how? >> which is based upon employer-sponsored health insurance which most people have. if you have employer-sponsored health insurance nothing changes for you except you are protected against limitation which protect people from preexisting conditions and so on. if you don't have health insurance or you work for a small business that cannot afford the high cost of health insurance, there would be an exchange, a marketplace where you could choose from many options, many private options and also a public option for the plan that works best for you and your family. >> why do you think people are so upset? why is there so much emotion, so much resistance, in your opinion? >> well, you know, no question a lot of fear of change. certainly every time you try to do anything to improve the health reform, the health care system, a a system where there
are skyrocketing costs and crushing families and businesses around this country, but whenever you talk about change, people get worried and certainly defenders of the status quo will capitalize upon the fears that people have. there's a lot of misinformation. as you heard from some of the questions, this is health insurance reform. this is about making affordable health care available all around the country and starting to push back on these costs of premiums have doubled in the last ten years. so this is -- there's nothing about a government takeover. that is just completely false. but that's clearly information that people have been given and it's important for our elected representatives, most importantly the president, to answer some of these concerns and reassure people that what we're talking about is making affordable health care available to everyone. >> i think that gets lost. when you listen to the people in these town halls, linda, they are saying we are afraid you are taking control of our future and you are doing it with generational expense. you had a reference to the
t.a.r.p. there with the frustration without engaging any real solution there and though the trillions of dollars that went on the taxpayers backs with that plan, the concern is that this plan, however it's formed, will be an additional bunch of a few trillion dollars against our children. how do you reconcile for that fear? >> well, you know, the question about our children and grandchildren is extremely important here. if we do nothing, in 30 years, 1 of 3 dollars in this country will be tied up in the health care system. it is absolutely crushing. every family, business, the economy and government. i mean, it is a weight that is bearing down on all of us so our businesses can't compete and families are paying 30% more out of pocket. that is certainly something we have to do for our children. in addition to that, what we're talking about in terms of paying for reform, most of this will come from money that is already in the system, cutting waste and fraud and government programs -- >> how? >> reallocating.
detailed proposals. cutting 500 billion, 600 billion of waste and inefficiency in medicare and medicaid and reallocating that money to a more efficient system that is more patient-center ped where you're taking care of the whole patient, rather than squandering money on such things as unnecessary hospital admissions because they've created such unsafe circumstances in hospitals and infections are up and people have to return. >> understood. linda, the biggest problem with health reform right now is either status quo, health insurance, et cetera, basically, spreading fear mongering or disinformation or misinformation about what is in the bill or what the bill would mean for you, whether you're on medicare or a corporate employee or a small business. how do you fight the information war so that, at the very least, the conversation that we are having, whether it's in cable or around dining room tables or town hall meetings is based in reality and fact and not
abstract fear of the boogie man that may not actually exist some. >> well, you know, health care is the most single most personal issue in this country to every single american and people, right now, certainly are going out trying to get information to make the right kinds of decisions for themselves based on the fact. because they know that we need change. they've been clamoring for change for decades. >> the problem is the facts always change. the problem is the facts -- depending on who you talk to, the facts are different. >> one of the things we encourage people to do is go to whitehouse.gov, a reality check website to lay out the case what it will do for you and create options and lower prices and protect you from discriminatory rules and make sure if you lose your job or change jobs you'll have affordable health insurance options which you do not have today. many people are left out in the cold or they are discriminated against by the insurance companies and all of this information is available for people on whitehouse.gov and
listen to the government. he is speaking to a town hall today in new hampshire. i would encourage your viewers to tune into that town hall. >> if you were to look at the number one fear, the fundamental fear that i'm not going to be in control of the decisions that will affect my health because of this plan, when you look at some of these plans it actually -- certainly when you look at wyden/bennett and other ideas it looks like we would have more choice. how do you make people feel like they will actually be em power as disempowered by this reform. if you listen to the people in the town halls, they are feeling threatened and disempowers by this process as opposed to empower by more choice as you suggest they may actually receive. >> let me say this as clearly as i can. most people get health insurance through their work and, for most people, that health insurance that they get through work will be there. nothing will change for them, except that they will be
protected against discriminatory insurance rules and their costs will begin to go down. that's the whole goal here is to keep you from paying these escalating costs. if you get your insurance through work, you're going to keep getting your insurance through work. if you lose your job, though, if you lose your benefits and, for some reason, your employer -- we're discouraging employers from doing this but if for some reason your employer wants to reduce your benefits or cut back your health insurance you'll have affordable options you don't have today. people are completely insecure today and you can't change jobs for fear of losing your benefits. >> if i don't want to leave for a more efficient higher yielding job for a health care plan it's not a capitalist country, it's a left capitalist country. what do you think of wyden/bennett which suggests a am sewn of urge to the congressional plan? we have affordability with public option or co-op. your opinions on that. >> no question senator wyden and
bennett have good ideas. senator wyden has been fighting for health reform for many, many years and a true expert on the subject. there is a part of that legislation with which the president does not agree. he does not want to start taxing health insurance benefits for american workers and that is -- >> my understanding is that that tax aigs, as you put it, is met with a deduction. in other words, that is simply a loophole in the tax code in order to achieve the affordability so that contessa and i can change jobs. so am i incorrect in that this is a tax game? this is not actually a new tax? in other words, i have to record it as taxable income and then i give you the deduction so that i can then back that out which now allows me the affordability. nothing i have to pay taxes under that plan. >> well, but the president -- first of all, i mean, the tax deduction for health benefits is something that has raised questions because the question is would that actually cover the
cost of the health care that you need, but, you know, many good ideas that senator wyden and senator bennett's plans but the president likes his own plan which would fund health insurance reform mostly through savings, through money that is already in the system and also taking a look at some other sources of revenue. let's not forget one thing. you're talking about money here. we spent $2.5 trillion a year on health care right now. what we're talking about is something like a hundred billion dollars a year over ten years, much of which would come from savings, money that is already in the system. so we really are not talking about an e noms cost here. as many people are trying to characterize it. when you look at $2.5 trillion a year that we're spending right now. >> understood. linda, a real pleasure to have a conversation with you. thank you for giving us a piece of your morning. we look forward to hearing from the president at 1:00 today. can you see again the town hall with arlen specter continuing right now in lebanon, pennsylvania.
the crowd emotional. again, let's take a visit. >> listen. the people of -- the people of pennsylvania -- the people of pennsylvania can impose term limits on me any time they want to. that said, that's democracy. who has got the next number? next number is? >> sixteen. >> you're up. >> yes, sir, mr. senator, sir. i have a question on page 58 and 59 of this bill, which gives the government access to private individual bank accounts at their free will. >> she's right. >> now, we're retirement age and we worked long and hard for what we have and, sir, if i want to spread my wealth around, it will be to my children,
grandchildren, to my community, to my church of my choosing. i do not think the government has the right to do that. i would think -- i'd have to brush up on my constitution, but i would think that is unconstitutional. i know definitely it's un-american. so you look at that when you go back and, sir, i really think you need to vote like an american and i think you need to vote no on this bill. >> i will not -- i will not -- i will not support a bill which gives the government the right to get the bank account information of a private citizen. the lady has sided a house bill. to repeat, we haven't gotten the senate bill. but i'm telling you that i will not support any bill which gives the government the right to find out what any citizen has in his or her bank account.
who has got the next number? >> representative paul hoos joins the conversation. going into the town hall meeting, one of the president's big issues, even if you sort of get through a lot of the things talked about in this town hall meeting about choice and port ability and you will this is cost. while linda douglas and others will say this is cost-cutting and deficit neutral, the cbo office as you surely know continues to say that is simply not the case, which is, why, again, people point back to wyden/bennett as opposed to government-run structures which rays the ire the live for your die crowd. how do you address costs? >> well, look. right now, health care is costing this country 17% of -- >> there is so many problems with this obama government.
>> amen. >> when i was -- >> the investment that we're making in health care is absolutely critical in order to prevent us from dealing with unsustainable costs in the future. >> i understand that, but the -- but here is the problem, representative. the congressional budget office doesn't look at this as an investment. they look at it as an expanded expense. let's come back for the cost conversation another time. let's stay real present tense. the emotion around this in the town hall self-evident for all of us who have the benefit of being able to watch the cameras that are in this room. the president will entertain his own town hall less than three hours from now. 1:00 eastern time. how will the emotion be in that room? how do you think the president will deal with it? do you think it's a version what we're seeing with arlen specter? will it be more heated, less heated? >> well, look. in new hampshire we are used to a vigorous public debate about the issues.
you only have to visit us every four years during the the presidential primaries to know we're used to politics and expressing our opinion. i expect to be an adult dialogue. the president is very good at dealing with questions and speaking clearly. look. this is a very important issue. nothing is more important than our health and we are dealing with reforming a broken system to lower costs, deliver better quality and more choice and putting people back in control of their health care and any time you try to make a big change, there's going to be some resistance. that's what we're seeing, but i expect to have a very productive dialogue today that the country will benefit from, because we need an adult national dialogue and we're finally having one about this important issue. >> i totally agree. i guess where we run into trouble is both on choice and on cost. those who look at the current public option proposal and this
congressional budget office mathematics says it doesn't save costs, it adds costs. there are other proposals that are more competitive like reference wyden/bennett not because i'm on their staff. i feel like our choices are no choice, whatsoever, do nothing which is disastrous as you can talk us through, i can as well. do everything in some public option. or wyden/bennett. i'm sure there are three or four other options. how do we create a different conversation? not one that is do nothing, in other words, fly the airplane into the side of the mountain and don't change course. that would be stupid. >> yes. >> or do some sort of government-run plan which gets everybody afraid we're going to become england and nobody is saying that's what we are going to do. how do you get people to focus on port ability and cost saving which is what you're trying to say you're doing? >> well, look. first of all, what you see is the hurly-burly of politics. the president i think has shown
wide leadership of his principles and leaving it to congress, both houses to work out the details which he will then deal with. so we've got a house plan. we've got a wyden/bennett plan and other plans coming from the senate and we don't know what the final contours look like. two important points. first, any health care reformary talking about will deliver more choice to the american people. it's as simple as that. there will be an exchange. people will be able to choose to keep their insurance with lower costs, or choose a public option, or enter the co-op to find a different private insurance choice. so there's more choice and more control coming to the american people. and you've got to look at this, not just as a cost, but as an investment. so while we take costs out of the the system with fraud, waste, and abuse being cut by $500 billion, we are making an investment in the future of this country that our grandchildren will thank us for because we're saving them from us sustainable soaring costs in the future. those investments are going to be paid for.
they're going to be deficit neutral. with all due respect to the cbo, they're knot not always right. >> markets -- yeah. understood. we'll come back for that. the biggest problem it seems that everybody faces in the health care debate is trying to prevent the raw emotion and fear from derailing the conversation to the point that it is no longer constructive, that the dialogue that you and i are able to have or others are able to have around choice, around cost, around tort reform, around all the things that are very important to discuss, get lost in the tunnel of fear. how do you prevent that some. >> west look. we're in a different kind of world. we're in the world where the internet is powerful and lots of folks on news with a news cycle that is 24/7 news cycle. the discussion you and i are having now is the kind of discussion that we need to have. so i'm grateful to be to be able to talk about lower costs, better care, and more control
for the american people. because those are the messages that are built into this bill. and when the american people understand -- when i talk to folks who i represent, they say things like i don't want the government getting between me and my medicare. when i i talk them through and point out the medicare costs are very low and it's actually the government paying for their private doctors and medicare, they begin to understand. so i believe that reasonable dialogue, that real information, instead of misinformation, is going to win out here and i'm very confident in the wisdom of the american people, and while there's a lot of emotion and there should be, because we're talking about a big change, this is all going to work out fine in the end. the president is a powerful and compelling speaker and i think in the town hall today, you'll see him clearly addressing the concerns about costs because he's going to address the fact that for people who have insurance now, their costs are unsustainable. this plan is going to lower their costs. it's going to lower costs for
everybody and deliver better care. >> let's go -- stay with me one second, if you wouldn't mind, representative. i want to go back to mr. specter's meeting. hang on one sec. >> >> you don't seem to have time to read them. don't take that wrong, please. why don't you let us know what their political afgss are and whose feet they sat at and learned politics? why don't you make that public and dodge, please. if you guys think that we want health care reform so bad, do this -- let's have a referendum. we'll tell you if we like your plan or not. how does that work? >> well, that's a fascinating idea, to have a referendum. we don't have any mechanism for it on the federal government. they have them in california.
>> make it happen. >> that's your job. >> you can start it! you've got voting machines! >> well, that's one of the ideas i'm going to take back to washington. >> thank you. >> a referendum. >> 21. >> who has got number 21? yes, ma'am. >> senator, i'm here because you sent me an invitation in the mail. >> yeah. >> nancy pelosi and everybody else, i'm not -- [ inaudible ] i'm here for my children, my daughter is 16. my son will be 20. he is going back for sophomore year of college. he's a premed student. you say president obama will not allow the health care plan to add any deficit. and, yet, the initial costs is over a trillion dollars for a down payment. who is going to pay for the bill and how do you expect my son working his way through college and my daughter who will be
going to college and you're not going to tax the middle -- the middle class people? that would be my husband and myself who is out working for our health care today. my children and my grandchildren are going to pay for this bill and how am i to tell tem that that is acceptable? >> the plan to keep deficit neutral is based on specific savings. for example, medical research and the national institute of health, which i have sponsored, has cut down the mortality on breast cancer and on stroke. i was the beneficiary, having hodgkin's, of chemotherapy developed by the national institutes of health -- >> representative hodes, are you there? representative hodes?
congressman? >> here is one thing that occurs to me. we hear it a few ways around cost and i think it goes back to the way the administration this and the one before it dealt with the banks and, for ma matter, the carmakers by basically using the american credit card of our children to bail these people out and then not actually doing anything to change the system, particularly the banking system. are we getting into a generational divide where the perceived generational theft to pay for a politically expedient solution, be it health care, automotive or banking, is starting to truly develop in this country? and how do you manage for that or avoid that? >> yeah. i don't know that we're getting into a generational divide. i mean, given the utter financial collapse of both of
our financial system and the economy we inherited from president bush and the republicans when president obama took office, it was necessary to stabilize the economy and we're beginning to see the end of that collapse and beginning to see stabilization -- >> that's a different conversation for a different kay day. my point there, representative, is that nothing was done to fix that system, but, again, apply it to health care and the generational aspect of that conversation. >> sure. look. we're just getting into the conversation about fixing the financial regulatory system. in terms of health care which is now 17% of our gross domestic product, one of the critical things to understand is that we cannot be competitive in the world economy without fixing our health care system. >> we all agree to that. >> every one of us pays -- every one of us is now paying essentially a tax for the cost of treating the uninsured. when we invest in covering the uninsured, we're going to lower the cost for us of those taxes.
this proposal, the various proposals do not -- do not put a burden on the middle class or small businesses. in fact, we help small business and the middle class. so there is a concern, but it is misplaced. this health care reform is going to lower costs for everybody, including the woman and her son who is talking now in the specter town hall. they are going to see lower health care costs, we all are, and that is going to more than pay for the investment we're going to make in fixing this broken system. lower costs for everybody. it's going to be the result of this health care reform. >> why then does the congressional budget office have such different math than some of the politicians selling the bill in the house? >> because the congressional budget office -- >> hold on, representative. let's go back to the town hall real quick. >> untrue rumor! who has got -- who has got --
who has got the next number? who has got the next number? >> how are you doing? thank you, senator. just for the record, i'm opposed to the health care but -- these people are doing a fine job there but there's a couple of other issues. >> just so you know, the untrue rumor he was just referring to was a woman asking if you're over 75 and had cancer that government will let you die. that's not true. let's continue the conversation. understand. listen, who wouldn't be afraid of that? let's try and stay -- >> it's coming around -- >> with some facts. >> on the secret ballot will be in but you're not going to give employees time to gather information and make an honest judgment if they want to join a union or not. if they put up five or ten-day provision in there before the vote, that's high-pressure salesmanship. and, for me, if somebody starts
putting pressure on me, my answer is no. but high pressure salesmanship is how these bills are being forced through washington right now, that's what the union wants to do to employees. not right. give them time to think about it and give them time to study the issues and make an honest vote. second issue. cap and trade. this is the largest single tax in the american people that we have ever, ever seen. cap and trade will increase our electric bills by 40% to 50%. it could potentially double our gasoline and diesel fuel taxes. this will decimate what is left of our industrial sector. major manufacturers will have no choice but to leave this nation wholesale. we will have unemployment, not at 10%, we will have unemployment, we'll have unemployment plenty, 20%, 30%. there will be a mass exodus of
our manufacturing in this nation. they can go to india or china and have lower wages and have lower costs. what is going to keep them here? >> okay. you've raised two very important questions. on cap and trade, the house of representatives has passed a bill which i agree with you has a lot of problems. but we haven't -- we haven't gotten a bill in the senate and we understand the kinds of concerns you've raised and we're going to take them up and see to it that we do not have the consequences of exporting jobs -- >> representative hodes, i'm going to let you go to the balance of your day. thank you for giving us a little bit of your time this morning for the conversation. if you were to emphasize one point to the president going into his town hall 2 1/2 hours from now, what messages would you most emphasize for him to
communicate? >> well, the president hardly needs advice from me. he has proven himself to be a great communicator and i know that his message of lower costs, better care, more choice and putting the people back in control of their health care is going to resonate across this country. we will beat back the forces of fear that are trying to stop progress and deliver real reform for everybody in this country and when the dust settles, people will be very grateful that we've had president obama's leadership and the opportunity to have a real dialogue about this important issue. >> well, thank you for engaging in part of that dialogue with us, representative paul hodes, a democrat in new hampshire, again, attending this afternoon when the president begins his town hall. this town hall has been simply extraordinary to watch. i can't say how pleased i am that we have had the opportunity to listen to very intelligent and passion questions and listen to mr. specter deal with them. you do wonder if he regrets
switching from republican to democrat. >> he got called out on that. >> yeah. >> this is a republican county. this is a county that voted overwhelmingly in favor of john mccain in the last election. you heard some of the people who showed up at the town hall saying we sent you to washington as a republican and now, of course, he has switched parties. that has got to irritate the republican voters in lebanon, pennsylvania. you know, you have to understand when they're talking about, for instance, what you're hearing from the democrats is we want an insurance exchange. we're going to offer you options. >> port ability. >> they already compete. a few years ago, i was unemployed. i was able to go on the internet and compare a lot of different insurance options and so there was an insurance exchange. you can find a plan that you can afoired. >> i guess my only issue the thing with that unlike car insurance where the government does its job and says if you want to drive a car, everybody must have an insured car so that
crazy fast eddie, i'll be fast eddie, doesn't go driving around with no insurance and run somebody over. we have no protection in our country from our government from fast eddie, me at 25, not having health insurance even though 50-year-old dylan and 70-year-old dylan is going to need health insurance haen that is ab dah indication abdication of the government's responsibility. nobody is going to buy insurance when the cost of insurance is high because it is only being purchased by those who are sick. so there is -- there are models of what we're talking about. >> however, don't you wonder why you have to invest in uninsured motorist coverage? because a lot of people don't bay the rules. owe portability, you heard from linda douglas you're going to be able to take your insurance if you get laid off from your job, if you want to switch jobs you will be able to take insurance with you. we can do that now, it's called cobra. what is new about it? >> what is new this costs much
less. even if you say you can do everything you want we are now in a structure we have the 37th best quality of care and tied with coast rhea costa rica as a country. we spend more than any nation on the planet earth as a percentage of our overall economic output. 16% of everything we do goes to health care and, yet, we get the 37th best care. >> right. >> it's not about do you have this options because a lot of people do. the question is are we doing this in a wasteful and way that is wasting this country p. brad, welcome back. jonathan capehart and lynn sweet are also here and a couple of other folks soon to join the conversation. brad, i'd like to get you started in here, though. tell me how the republicans, who seem to at least have found something to rally around in
resisting the current health care proposals go from being angry or frustrated and expressing that to saying, yes, i acknowledge that we spend 16% of our gdp on health care, i acknowledge that we come in 37th with the quality of care, i acknowledge that this conversation should be had. i just think the democrats are doing a bad job of it. here is a better option. how do the republicans move from i'm angry to how we can do it better? >> well, first of all, we have to understand that we're innocent by-standers in this in that they control everything. >> if you came on here to whine about innocent by-stander is a waste of our time. i'm trying to have a dialogue with you in public and giving you an opportunity, sir, to say here is what we're thinking about and doing. i understand no one cares and you're ruled out of power and a billion excuses. you're in the dialogue. you're at the town hall meetings.
how do you make it better? >> you're hearing from some of the people right here at the town hall meetings have great ideas and well informed. >> i'm asking you, brad. you're on tv with me. we're talking. >> here is what the republicans would do and that is get the cost down on that which you control. >> how? >> everybody agrees that medicare and medicaid are right with fraud mismanagement abuse and the president wants to take that alleged savings and put it into another plan. the republicans saying fix what you control first. apply the savings back into improving our health care. that's what we should be doing. we shouldn't be expanding that incompetence and fraud and abuse to every american through universal plan forced on americans. >> what about more competitive health insurance environment in general so contessa talks about available to her, this sort of thing, port ability, would you be in faverl of laws create more competitive health insurance in general including a co-op or public option in a pool? is that valued in your mind? >> yes.
republicans might be independence in that. here is the problem. you heard senator specter say it. the democrats have not coalesced upon a bill they can all agree. five bills out there. what are they selling to the american people? that is the frustration you're hearing at the town hall meetings is the people don't understand that which is being offered to them. the democrats have not coalesced behind a plan that they can say they're for. >> understood. >> so republicans want to control and contain costs first and foremost, fraud mismanagement abuse and get rid of it. then let's revisit the health care system. fix the economy first. that's what you also are hearing at these town hall meetings. >> understood. chris is a democratic strategist and is joining us. how do the democrats do a better job of pointing out that they actually want a lot of the same things that brad suggests that the republicans are interested in? particularly more efficient, higher yielding, lower cost health care system beginning with medicare perhaps and then ideally reforming health insurance across the country?
>> listen. i think the big challenge here is making it very clear to the american people what the plan entails. i think part of the problem here is when you have seen these town halls there is impassioned people and very good questions. >> let's set that aside. brad made a great point which is the democrats at this point have yet to present a cohesive plan which then leaves a lot of fertile soil for the cultivation of fear. >> well, i mean, listen. this is part of our process in terms of bills coming up through the house and the senate. what i think you do see, though, there is about 80%, i would say, agreement in terms of what the basic principles are of this health care reform. >> give me two or three of those and we'll talk about them. >> one, for example, denying coverage to people with
preexisting conditions would end. providing coverage for individuals to get free health care in terms of tests, checkups, you know, that type of preventive care. capping out of pocket expenses is another example. those, i think, would help insure no matter what type of health insurance policy you may have will help keep down costs. i know this from my own personal experience. i can tell you when we had our baby and i got personally sick the amount of out-of-pocket expenses was enormous and we had health care coverage. i think that is what the democrats are talking about but it is difficult to get your message out in this environment where i think people have ideological obstacle to this kind of health care reform. >> change scares people for good reasons sometimes exand other iams you don't want the plane to fly into the side of the mountain. sometimes you have to pull back on the stick, so to speak.
brad, how do the republicans take advantage of this? in other words, how do you take advantage of the obvious fear and anxiety to come forward and say, listen, we'll do health insurance reform, we'll do competitive markets, we will abdicate for the waste abuse aspect of this. graham and others have already written their willingness to endorse this sort of thing and then make the democrats play catch-up with that. in other words, how do we avoid basically having to choose between public option or nothing when, clearly, there are -- there should be options three, four, five which may be spor superior to nothing or the public option? >> i have to go back to tell you in washington, it's a matter of votes. the amount of votes you have will dictate whether or not it survives or not. the republicans really are not relevant to this conversation. >> that's not true. >> that is not true! >> that is simply not true.
>> it is true! >> if the -- i feel like the republicans have been able to consolidate with health care. i would argue the health care debate has been good for the republican party, the very least it creates a central focus. jonathan, are you there? >> yes, it has but let me point out something first. >> yes. >> the republicans can point out the dishtsys deficiencies of plan. we can't pass a plan. what problem is the blue dog democrats -- >> that is not true, brad. it's not true. >> look. you have the numbers to pass whatever you want whenever you want! >> this is the problem i think with this whole health care debate is we basically have the republicans who have chosen to be obstacles instead of being partners to figure out the best health care reform for the country. >> you don't need that. you've got the votes! >> not needing you it's not a point about that. this is about whether we're going to deal with the serious problem the country faces and put maybe partisanship aside and you're sitting there saying we have no role in this, but then you have a role in the town
halls. >> i want to go back to the town hall. arlen specter wrapping things up. >> a couple more things. a lot of people ask you and you said you would not support certain provisions in whatever bill comes through. okay. the house bill probably isn't going to change much. they wanted it in july. or august. now looking at september. the compromise bill between the house and the senate, most of the provisions you're talking about that you would not support probably won't be removed from the bill. so are you giving us the commitment that if those provisions are still in the bill, you will not vote for the bill? >> on the items -- yes, i'm giving you the commitment on the items we talked about -- i will stand. >> that he -- >> all -- it's all being recorded. >> well, we will hold your feet to the fire. one other thing. cap and trade, the health care is a side issue for me but cap and trade, next year our electric rates are going up 40%
with the rate caps coming off. i can't afford it right now. you know, i've got two kids to feed. i'm laid off is the only reason i'm here. i wouldn't have been able to come had i been working because i can't afford it but i'm laid off but luckily you're paying for me right now. in obama's own words under his plan electric rates would necessarily skyrocket. how are you representing the people of pennsylvania by imposing such a burden on them? the people of pennsylvania have been yelling to you to stop taxing us, stop spending so much of our money! i mean, you can hear it in this crowd. you feel it. and we have no more money! we have no more money! you know, we went through -- i recycle. i feel i should do the thing for the environment but when it comes to the fact where i can't even put food on the table because you want to hide it's bad for the environment for somebody to produce something and provide me a job, i draw the line. we went through an ice age and
came out of an ice age without cars or factories and we will probably do it again. but when it comes to taxes and taking more of my money, that's where i draw the line. we spend enough money. we don't have enough money. we printed as much money out of thin air as what is in circulation. we have no money! i'll let other people talk. >> on the way to 30. yes, sir. yes, sir? >> senator, i'm glad you support our right to free speech which has a very chilling effect on that is the white house collecting e-mails from people who say they're not supporting health care system and the white house keeping track of people who could be viewed as political opponents to the health care bill. that's very chilling and i would ask -- you remember the senate judiciary committee constitutionality that has to be
very questionable. will you go back and look into that and try to get this thing halted and ceased immediately? >> you said white house is taking your e-mails and doing something against you? >> the white house is soliciting e-mails that you receive as a private citizen from groups or organizations that are opposed to the health care bill. it's on their website. they are asking you -- they are asking people to forward these e-mails to the white house so that they can keep track of the opposition. this has been in the news for the past two weeks. gibbs talked about it at one of the press conferences. this is soviet union, this is china. this is incredible for the united states of america. so the people in this room want their country back.
if you've heard nothing today, please understand that and i would ask what you've learned learned today from this town hall meeting that can you take back to washington to make a change. >> well, you asked two questions. one that i would take a look at the practice which the white house is asking to get a -- identify people who are opposed to the white house to their health bill. i'll take a look. what have i learned from today's meeting? well, that this is a very well-informed part of our citizenry. we've had the quotations on the bill repeatedly which shows that there's been a lot of study on the house bill and you've raised a number of provisions which impressed me. but, you know, what is going on.
i have a very good idea of the temper of the crowd. i saw standing ovations to return america to the constitution. and it's more than an earful and i'm not surprised. i've been to a lot of town meetings. had hundreds of them during the course of my tenure in the senate and i'm going to one this afternoon and i'll be doing it all month long. and i'll take the word back and encourage my colleagues to have town meetings like this. they aren't easy. and they're a relative rarity in america today, but i think they are very worth while and i get the message. number 30? you have number 30? here you are. >> how are you? >> this is the last question. >> teacher says proud member of the mob. >> i am.
>> these are my dear friends who came with me today and they were real access to stand up here and let their voices be heard with me. senator, i have two questions. first is we are quizzing on house bill 3200. i'm wondering where house member congressman holden is and why isn't he here to help us address health bill 3200 and says he won't have any town hall meetings. that was my first question. the second is on page 42, talking about the health commissioners, that the health commissioners will decide our benefit plans. who in heaven's name are going to be the health commissioners? how do they get picked? on what basis will they be selected? and how will they make these
awesome decisions for all of these very different people in this room? >> good question. >> thank you, sir. >> i am opposed to anybody making a decision for you or me, or anybody else about what health care plan we will have. everybody ought to be able to choose what they want and the idea is to have an exchange, which means that there will be a central place where you will have a whole group of plans to choose from, which is what i have. i can choose any one of a number of plans that i pay for, and they amount to different sums of money. but i will not support a bill which deprives you of the right and gives it to some
governmental agency to pick your health plan. thank you all very much, ladies and gentlemen. thank you. >> the page is set for the president of the united states who, himself, will hold his first town hall meeting today in port smith, new hampshire. that just over two hours from now right here on msnbc. high drama this morning in pennsylvania, as senator arlen specter did his first town hall, again, incredible. the questions, the intelligence of the questions, the misinformation that exists around this entire process, in some cases, the passion in the room, and arlen specter's capability to deal with even the most disruptive aspects of this meeting. a powerful dialogue, in my opinion. for this country, at a time, when it could not be more important. >> let's go back and show one of those moments where things got extremely heated.
>> you want to be -- you want to be led out of here? you're welcome to go. now wachlt. now wait a minute. now wait a minute. now wait a minute! wait a minute. >> on my rights! i am leaving! i have every right to leave! >> wait a minute! wait a minute! he has a right to leave. he's right. >> he is -- on my constitutional rights. >> wait a minute. wait a minute! wait a minute! >> the doing log this morning. plenty of dialogue and i suspect you'll see that much more of it in just a couple of hours when we head up to new hampshire here on msnbc. we will take a break! right now, we will be back with jonathan capehart and lynn sweet and the creator of a new documentary on united health. sick for profit joins us. robert greenwald after this. does your mouthwash work in six different ways?
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. we were told initially the people were lost. a couple of weeks later, we were told by united health care it was denied. >> the big winners in this broken health care system. let's look at who they are. the ceo of united health group, steven helmsley. his salary, $3.2 million. >> joining us from los angeles is robert greenwadl, a filmmaker behind sick for profit. what strikes me, robert, is we when you talk about death care panels and who deserves right to live or right to die issues when you don't have enough money to make that decision yourself and understandable fear about the government making those
decisions, health insurance companies make more money if they are good at making sure they don't have to pay for people that are going to be expensive in the last six months of their lives, correct? >> that's absolutely correct. it's an issue that, unfortunately, has gotten lost which is why we decided to do the short documentary, which is to remind people and to educate them that fundamentally, steven helmsley is rewarded every time he says no to you and every time he says no to your family, he makes more money. we got photos of his mansions. we have records about his three-quarters of a billion dollars in stock option. and what we must remember is all of that money comes out of your pocket and out of insuring and providing for your family and goes into his. it puts profit at the center of a system where it should not be and that is the real enemy that we should focus on. >> we could debate whether profit or not, but at the very
least, you would hate to have profit so misaligned with the system that the way i make the money is by screwing you over or, in this case, not providing health care. it would be nice if he could figure out a way to align the human desire with profit with the human desire to sustain life, as opposed to the opposite. >> well, i would argue that profit should not be built into our fire department. it should not be built into our police department and it should not be built into our health care and saving the lives of you and your family. >> understood. we're out of time. the movie "sick for profit." united health by the way, with their own response saying we strongly support health reform. it is complex work, not advanced by attack videos or rhetoric so we will continue to focus on expanding coverage for all americans. thank you so much for joining us for this morning's edition of the "morning meeting." >> a lot more discourse. >> much to come. you will have coverage this
afternoon? >> absolutely. >> coming out of the obama meeting. contessa here at 2:00. carlos was the son watson is picking up now. look for contessa coming out of it and carlos and nancy snyderman leading into the president at 1:00 on msnbc. mr. evans? this is janice from onstar. i have received an automatic signal you've been in a front-end crash. do you need help? yeah. i'll contact emergency services and stay with you. you okay? yeah. onstar. standard for one year on 14 chevy models.